We are devastated by the ongoing events in Afghanistan and the continued loss and suffering endured by the Afghan people. We call on the U.S. government and global community to accelerate efforts to secure safe exit pathways and broaden eligibility criteria for our Afghan allies.
In July, the U.S. government began an emergency relocation of Afghan Special Immigration Visa holders, or SIVs. SIV holders worked in some capacity for the U.S. armed forces, in Afghanistan, such as interpreters and security guards, and now face retribution for their service. SIV holders and their immediate families are entitled to the same benefits as refugees who come through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC), the refugee resettlement agency for central NJ, has welcomed several Afghan SIV families this summer, along with refugees from other parts of the world, such as Syria. To support the resettlement process, One World One Love has prepared apartments for 10 families, or about 50 individuals. Nearly half have arrived in the last 2-3 weeks. The IRC anticipates arrivals of more Afghan SIVs, as well as refugees from other countries, in the coming weeks and months. One World One Love volunteers are also in touch with Afghan families who have been with us for some time, offering friendship and support during this crisis.
There are many ways you can help at this critical time.
1. The IRC asks for assistance in identifying safe, affordable housing in Union, Essex and Morris counties. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any leads you might have.
2. Speak up for our Afghan allies. Contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to press the Biden administration to expand and expedite access to Afghan refugees. One of our partner organizations, Hearts & Homes for Refugees, has compiled this resource document for contacting representatives and signing actionable petitions.
3. Offer friendship, support and guidance to Afghans we know or who reach out to us in this time of need. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, one of the country’s oldest refugee advocacy organizations, has released this guidance document with information on how to support and advise Afghans in the U.S. and in Afghanistan.
4. Assist with SIV applications. Our partner organizations, Hearts & Homes for Refugees and Keeping Our Promise, are working together on a project to help SIV applicants with their visa processing. You can volunteer to coordinate part of it. Anyone interested can email email@example.com.
5. Support One World One Love. We welcome volunteer support and in-kind donations for apartment set-ups. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, we humbly ask that you consider a monetary donation to help us sustain our work. One World One Love is entirely volunteer-run. All donations go directly to purchasing items for apartment set-ups and providing essential services to the families we serve. Click here to donate now. Thank you.